By Savannah Verdon, RedRover Development and Engagement Coordinator

Six years ago on a visit to their local animal shelter, Jennifer and her then 12-year-old son knew right away which cat would be joining their family. It was a handsome young tabby that her son declared “the best” amongst so many cats looking for a home. Safe in a loving family, Pistol’s unique personality emerged soon after leaving the shelter behind.

“Pistol is a part of our family. He’s an amazing companion even though he’s grumpy. We just laugh and call him our Lil’ Grumpster.” 

Though an independent spirit, Pistol was a very loving cat. He shared a special relationship with his little sister, another tabby named Penelope. No matter how much she pestered him, they were good company for one another and would always make up.

The four of them — two cats and two humans — made a complete and happy family. While Jennifer had been struggling to stay afloat as a single mother, Pistol’s companionship and the joy he brought to her son’s life softened the edges of the hardest days. And when she eventually found herself needing to take a medical leave of absence from her full-time job, his sweet and gentle nature was a healing prescription of its own.

Soon after leaving her full-time job altogether and taking up temporary employment as a restaurant server, the COVID-19 pandemic reached the U.S., leaving Jennifer officially unemployed. Her son had recently turned 18 and was beginning college, making Jennifer’s unemployment benefits the only income for the household. 

One day during this stressful time, Jennifer noticed that Pistol’s ear was swollen and hot to the touch. Soon it began to ooze, and their sweet, grumpy boy wasn’t acting like himself. 

“He loves my son, and my son loves him so much. We are distraught over this, we hate to see Pistol in pain. I feel terrible because Pistol is not himself.”

When Jennifer took Pistol to the veterinarian to have his ear examined, she learned he had an aural hematoma – a sort of blood blister in the cartilage of his ear. It was likely he had an ear infection that went untreated, and he was at risk of suffering permanent damage to his ear if the hematoma wasn’t addressed. The veterinarian cleaned Pistol’s ear that day, and Jennifer took him back home, not knowing how she would afford surgery to drain the hematoma.

After she applied for and was denied CareCredit to pay for the surgery, Jennifer looked online for any help she could possibly receive to help her boy heal and be his grumpy self once more. When she found our RedRover Relief Urgent Care grant program, she was hopeful she had come to the right place.

With support from compassionate people who appreciate just how heartbreaking it is to watch a beloved pet suffer, RedRover was able to award Jennifer an Urgent Care grant to help with the cost of Pistol’s surgery. Because you understand that pets are family, Pistol didn’t have to spend another day in pain.

Back home with Jennifer, her son, and little feline sister Penelope, Pistol has happily returned to his grumpy ways — and is enjoying a new cat tree, to boot. Jennifer couldn’t express her gratitude enough:

“Pistol is doing so much better and I am so grateful for you and your donors! I could not have helped Pistol without you all! He’s doing great post surgery, and is back to his normal self.”

Thank you for providing Pistol relief from his pain, and making sure this family could stay happy and whole despite their hardships. We are grateful for your commitment to the mission of RedRover: bringing animals from crisis to care. 

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